• Breanna Johns

Hawaiians face new threats after eruption of volcano


The residents of Hawaii now have new threats to worry about. After surviving the island's earthquakes and molten lava, islanders now have to worry about steam-driven explosions, hazardous volcanic smog, and acid rain.

According to CNN, "The US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Wednesday [May 9, 2018] warned of possible explosive eruptions in the coming weeks. That could happen because as lava continues to sink in a lake inside a Kilauea crater, an influx of groundwater could interact with the lava to create steam explosions."

The force from the "steam explosions" would cause "ballistic projectiles." The projectiles could be as small as a "pebble," or they could weigh up to "several tons."

It is not certain that explosive activity will occur, how big the explosions may be, or "how long such explosive activity could continue."

The governor of Hawaii, David Ige, has asked President Donald Trump to issue a "disaster declaration" for Hawaii.

The declaration allows federal funds to begin to flow to state and local efforts in Hawaii. The estimated cost to protect residents over the next 30 days is expected to exceed $2.9 million, according to the Governor's office.

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, there was a "brief" explosion, on a Kilauea crater, which was the result of falling rocks and not the interaction of lava with the water table.

The explosion created new volcanic vents on the ground, miles "east of the summit, releasing slow-moving lava and toxic gas into island communities."

There have been warnings of dangerous levels of "sulfur dioxide gas."

If winds weaken, that gas and other volcanic pollutants can settle easily with moisture and dust to create a haze called volcanic smog, or "vog," with tiny sulfuric acid droplets that can pose respiratory problems, according to the US Geological Survey.

But according to the National Weather Service, the winds could weaken by Thursday, May 10, and Friday, May 11, which means the "vog" could create possible health hazards. With the high chances of rain on those days, "sulfuric acid droplets would fall, creating another menace known as acid rain," but acid rain is not an immediate health hazard.

Hawaiian residents have to be prepared to leave their properties at a moments notice.

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